Hundreds of activists belonging to several organisations held a protest meeting today opposite the Supreme Court in New Delhi, to mark the 33rd anniversary of the genocide of Sikhs in 1984.

LRS president addressing the meeting

A view of the public action at Supreme Court

View of public protest opposite the Supreme Court of India

The organisers included Lok Raj Sangathan, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Popular Front of India, Communist Ghadar Party of India, Sikh Forum, United Muslims Front, APCR, SAHRDC, PMS, Scientific Socialism Journal, Social Democratic Party of India, Welfare Party of India, Citizens for Democracy, AIMMM (Delhi), CPI (M-L)-New Proletarian, APCR, SIO, MEC, HNES, NCHRO, Socialist Party (India).

Speakers pointed out that this rally is our resolute declaration that attacks targeting specific communities, and state sponsored communal violence and genocide will not go unchallenged. They said that there is total silence about the gruesome genocide in the mainstream media, the ruling and opposition parties and the government. They want to make the people of India forget about this state sponsored crime. There are also suggestions that we should forgive the crimes of the state and move on. By organising this rally, we have rejected their proposal to forget and forgive. We have come out demanding punishment for the guilty and the need for people to take steps towards building a society where such crimes will not be tolerated.

The genocide of Noveer 1984 was a meticulously planned state-organised crime and not just a spontaneous outburst. The crime was planned several days in advance. There is overwhelming evidence that the crime was planned at the highest levels including the ruling party, the cabinet, security apparatus and the bureaucracy.

The genocide was a part of the overall “divide and rule” strategy of the ruling establishment. This “divide and rule” strategy has been the preferred weapon in the hands of political parties and their governments to stabilize their rule and push through policies which are against the interests of people, which benefit only the corporate business houses.

The fact that both Congress and BJP have been involved in these criminal acts was highlighted by many speakers. They cautioned that people should not fall prey to the propaganda of the ruling class that we have a choice between a secular and communal front. Both the parties have organised communal

violence and terror against the people. They have defended each other while fooling the people that justice will be delivered if they are elected to power.

Just as the real perpetrators of the genocide of 1984 are yet to be punished, the criminals who organised the destruction of Babri Masjid and the killing of Muslims in 1992-93, the massacre of Muslims in 2002, and numerous other such acts of genocide are still roaming free. Attacks on specific communities have only increased since 1984. Encounter killings by security personnel, persecution and imprisonment under black laws such as UAPA, attacks by lynch-mobs in the name of “cow protection” organsied and protected by the state – all this continues unabated and is increasing in frequency and intensity. Any individual or organisation taking a stand against these atrocities is being labelled as “anti-national”, as having links with “terrorists” and “extremists”.

We cannot rely on these parties of the establishment to punish those guilty of organizing communal massacres or to end communal violence and state terror, since they themselves are a part of the communal “divide and rule” strategy of the Indian State. A change of party in government cannot remove the source of communal violence. What is required is empowerment of people, to take decisions on how our society should be run. What is required is to rebuild our society on new foundations where an attack on one is considered as an attack on all, where the state is duty-bound to ensure security and well-being for all its citizens.

Speakers at the joint rally emphasized that people are completely marginalized in the existing political and electoral process. Only when people have the right to select and elect candidates, to recall their representatives if they fail to protect their interests and when people have the right to initiate legislation can they take concrete steps against state sponsored communal violence. They resolved that to create a society where no one can be attacked on the basis of their religion, caste or language, they will step up their efforts to strengthen unity among people and vigorously work for the empowerment of people.

S. Raghavan, President

November 1, 2017

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